If you’re like me, you can’t get enough of watching snowboarding events on television. You might also be left puzzled by some of the style choices snowboarders make, especially when it comes to female riders leaving their hair sticking out from their helmets.
I set out to find out why snowboarders do this and came across some interesting findings. So why do snowboarders have their hair sticking out?
Snowboarders have their hair sticking out for comfort and personal expression. Some snowboarders also have long hair that’s uncomfortable when stuffed underneath a helmet. Many female snowboarders wear two strands of hair sticking out, which has become known as “slut strands”.
Continue reading this piece for the rundown on why snowboarders leave their hair sticking out.
I’ll examine where this trend started, the reasons why riders choose to have their hair sticking out, and what this look signifies for snowboarders around the world.
Alternatively, if I’ve answered your question, why not check out more of our great snowboard articles.
Hidden Underneath Layers of Gear
To understand why snowboarders leave their hair sticking out from their helmets, you must first understand the gear that snowboarders have to wear.
Snowboarding is a dangerous activity that carries a great deal of risk. As a result, riders are equipped with protective headwear like helmets to prevent severe injuries and practical gear like goggles to aid their eyesight.
However, snowboarding is also a sport that’s completed in the freezing cold.
Snowboarders need to stay warm in addition to protecting themselves when they’re out on the slopes, further adding to the amount of gear a rider must wear.
Many snowboarders wear multiple layers of clothing. We just don’t see these layers because they are usually covered up by riders’ ski gear and helmets.
All of this gear covers the snowboarder’s head, most of their face, and their hair. Depending on the bodysuit, the gear can also hide a rider’s figure or shape. That’s why all snowboarders could look the same when suited up for riding.
All of these layers of gear are also quite warm, especially when riding hard and exerting yourself on a slope.
This can cause your hair to quickly become a big ball of sweat and grease after a few hours of riding.
This leads some to wear their hair outside of their helmets to stay cool and prevent their hair from becoming a sweaty mess.
However, the majority of snowboarders who leave their hair sticking out are female, and this is done for another reason.
A Female Athlete in a Male-Dominated Sport
Snowboarding is and always has been a male-dominated sport. Since its conception a few decades ago, it’s been primarily men who’ve taken up snowboarding.
If you hit the slopes yourself, you’ll notice that the majority of snowboarders are male.
Female participation in snowboarding has steadily increased to make up about one-third of all snowboarders. However, female riders are still a distinct minority in their sport.
When you take this into account, along with the fact that snowboarders all wear similar gear that hides their faces, figures, or hair when riding, it’s difficult for people to distinguish male from female riders. Since males make up the majority of riders, this often leads to female riders being mistaken for men.
As a result, female snowboarders and skiers started to wear two strands of their hair out from helmets to frame their faces.
This style signifies to other skiers, snowboarders, and onlookers that the rider brandishing the look is a female rider.
Many of these badass female snowboarders rock the hair out look.
For many female snowboarders, wearing the look is a source of pride as it shows that women can compete with men in a male-dominated sport… without sacrificing their femininity or looking like a genderless being when out on the slopes.
The Origins of the Hair Style
The exact origins of wearing two strands of hair sticking out from your helmet while snowboarding is not entirely clear.
While this practice is common around the world, many snowboarders are unsure as to where this practice began or who was the first to wear this style.
What Is The Slut Strand In Snowboarding?
One thing we know for certain is the name of the hairstyle: the slut strand.
It’s not entirely clear where the term first appeared, although I can say that the hairstyle has been called this since at least the 90s.
Whilst it certainly sounds it… the term slut strand is actually not offensive when referring to the common hairstyle worn by female snowboarders.
Perhaps this is because the female riders who have taken ownership of the term and changed its meaning; it’s not for me to say.
Ever since the hairstyle first came about, it has grown in popularity. In fact, you’ll be hard-pressed to find many female professional snowboarders who do not leave two strands of hair sticking out from their helmets.
Olympic Snowboarders With Hair Sticking Out
If you want to see this unique snowboarding hairstyle for yourself, there are few better places than at the Winter Olympic Games. Check out any female snowboarding events, and you’ll see that most if not all of the participants are wearing two strands of hair free from their helmets.
If you follow female snowboarding athletes on social media platforms, you’ll see pictures of them wearing the look while out on the slopes.
As a result, leaving two strands of hair sticking out has become somewhat of an unofficial uniform for female snowboarders.
The ‘Slut Strand Society’
Wearing strands of hair out of your helmet while snowboarding has been hailed as an expression of gender and femininity in a sport where the uniforms and equipment fail to do so.
Most snowboarding equipment, especially the older stuff, is designed to be gender neutral (or male orientated).
This is where the Slut Strand Society comes into the mix.
This is a company founded by an American snowboarder who takes pride in designing feminine snowboarding gear for riders who wish to highlight the fact they are women and snowboarders.
The Slut Strand Society has become more than a business venture and is now a movement that challenges the male-dominated sport of snowboarding – while empowering female athletes to show off their femininity and skills on the slopes.
(By the way, this post isn’t endorsed by the slut strand society – just giving them a deserved shoutout).
Male Snowboarders Letting Their Hair Down
If you’re an avid fan of snowboarding, you’re probably thinking, “how come male snowboarders sometimes leave their hair sticking then?”
The answer to this question is not straightforward, as there are a few motivations for doing so.
Some male snowboarders leave their hair sticking out because they like the style. As I mentioned earlier, snowboarders often look the same when wearing all of the gear. As a result, athletes try to distinguish themselves from the rest by showing off their hair through their helmets.
Making an impression and allowing onlookers to identify you clearly is important in snowboarding, especially since a large chunk of a pro snowboarder’s income comes from sponsorship deals.
Another reason for male snowboarders wearing their hair below their helmets is comfort.
A hat, balaclava, and helmet can quickly warm your head. Many snowboarders want to avoid a sweaty mass of hair on their heads, so they let some of their hair hang out for improved comfort and airflow.
Finally, snowboarders wear helmets to protect their brains from the massive impacts often suffered by crashes in snowboarding. For the helmets to offer adequate protection, they have to fit tightly to the snowboarder’s head, and a big ponytail or bun can prevent this.
Female snowboarders let two strands of hair fall down to frame their faces while riding.
This shows they are female riders, as snowboarding gear often looks gender neutral.
This style is called the slut strand, but it’s not offensive or demeaning, despite what the name suggests.
Some male snowboarders also let their hair hang out while snowboarding.
However, this is usually done to make them look different from their competition, enhance comfort, or help keep their helmets tight on their heads.
Hope that helped!